Bangladesh a model of communal harmony: Speakers

Speakers at an open discussion on Communal Harmony, Peace and Conflict today said Bangladesh was a model for communal harmony and other South Asian countries could take lessons from it.

Dr. Richard L. Benkin, a globally acclaimed American author and a veteran journalist who spoke as the main discussant, said I urge Bangladesh to be a part of the solution to communal hazards rather than being a part of the trouble. Communalism makes countries vulnerable to international embargos.

Promoting Bangladesh on the international stage was very important, he said.

The Asian Age newspaper organized the discussion on Monday at a hotel in the city. Political leaders, academic scholars, higher officials, prominent citizens, journalists and financial experts attended the discussion.

It was moderated by Major General Shamim Chowdhury (Retd), Advisory Editor of The Asian Age.

Nadeem Qadir, Roving Editor, The Asian Age presented the keynote paper at the program.

The speakers in the discussion included Dr. Atiar Rahman, former governor of the Bangladesh Bank, Dr. Ataur Rahman of Dhaka University's Political Science faculty, Former Foreign Secretary Shamser Mobin Chowdhury, Major General M. Mainul Islam (retd), Professor Dr. AK Azad Chowdhury and Awami League's Organizing Secretary BM Mozammel Haque, MP.

Chairman of the Asian Age Editorial Board M. Shoeb Chowdhury also made a brief comment.

Nadeem Qadir in his key-note paper said that Pakistan army maltreated the people of Bangladesh with brazen communal behaviour. He recalled a few personal experiences during the Liberation War of 1971 to describe how ruthlessly the Pakistan army massacred people. He gave a brief picture of how communal venom was spread once again throughout the country after the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.

Professor Dr. AK Azad Chowdhury, former Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University and ex Chairman, University Grants Commission (UGC), said that during 1905 religious minorities in East Bengal (present day Bangladesh) were 35% to 38%, whereas now it has come down to 8% to 10%.

Awami League's Organizing Secretary BM Mozammel Haque said that a true approach to history is one of the most necessary things for promoting a non-communal outlook.

Bangladesh Bank's former Governor Dr Atiur Rahman said that it is a time-befitting discussion as the country is poised for another round of democratic transition.

Shoeb Chowdhury urged the government to restrain graft and malpractices in banks and all other sectors to establish good governance and socio-economic justice throughout the country.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)